THE date was September 24, 1948 and Accrington was the venue for the wedding of two top stage stars of the day.

But it was so secret that most people missed the town’s wedding of the year between Renee Houston and Donald Stewart.

Six weeks after their register office wedding in London, the couple who were topping the bill that week at Accrington Hippodrome, went through a religious ceremony in a local church.

Besides the bride and groom, only the minister, the best man — who was an Accrington taxi driver — and the matron of honour and her husband were at the ceremony.

When the couple left the church, they were greeted by a photographer and reporter from the Northern Daily Telegraph, while women, who would have been agog at the event had they known, passed by on their way to the shops, unaware that anything unusual was afoot.

It’s believed the ceremony was kept low-key because the bride’s sister was lying ill. Renee wore a black highwayman coat, a black French beret and black Hollywood fishnet stockings, sent by her sister-in-law Joan Fontaine.

Donald sported a grey lounge suit and, like his best man Arthur Burgess, their taxi driver for the week, had a white carnation buttonhole.

The matron of honour was a Bacup girl appearing with her husband in the same show as the Stewarts — Mrs Glenda Buckland, whose stage name was Beryl Raye, but who was better known in her home town as Beryl Ratcliffe.

Afterwards, the couple returned to the Antley Inn, Accrington, where they were guests of licensee Mr H Tonge, for a quiet lunch.

Asked about their honeymoon, the bride told the Telegraph, with a smile: “We might go to Baxenden if the weather is good!

“There is no particular reason,” she added, “why the ceremony took place in Accrington, other than we like the town and we like the people.”